I developed Skid School Driver Skills Development Program to focus on emergency skills in the hands-on portion of the class, and on a general knowledge of vehicle behavior and equipment safety parameters as they relate to the driver's and the vehicle's preparedness for handling the kind of emergency response that we are teaching and practicing in the hands-on portion of the training.
It is derived from the program we provided to the Vermont Police Academy for 30 years, and that we currently provide to the insurers of municipalities for police, fire and EMT drivers as well as other municipal employees in the Northeast.
All of our hands-on drills are designed to provide practice and build expertise in skills that are required for safely negotiating predictable emergencies such as a deer in the road or being forced out of your lane. By their very nature, the emergency response required in these drills cannot be practiced anywhere but in a safe, controlled and obstacle-free environment that is large enough to enable us to train at speeds that approximate actual highway conditions at the time of the emergency. This is why it is so difficult for us to find adequate training space in an area that would be more convenient for Skid School participants. Compromising on safety parameters is not an option for us.
The hands-on drills are as follows:
Drivers stop from 55mph in a straight line in the shortest possible distance. Those drivers who learned to drive before ABS are surprised to find that steering control is much more easily maintained in a vehicle with ABS than it was in a vehicle that could possibly lock its brakes under those conditions.
The serpentine links a number of turns together in rapid succession. It is a technically difficult drill that requires considerable practice. The payoff is that when a driver swerves to avoid a deer or other obstacle suddenly in his path, the practiced response of smoothly linking the turn that returns the driver to his lane after the initial swerve is the result of practice and conditioning that separates a trip into the trees or a spin-out on the shoulder from a near-miss.
Emergency Lane Change
Intersection crashes are the most common type of serious crash, and are the most likely to produce serious injuries and multiple-vehicle property damage. Having a go-to, instinctual procedure that uses 100% of the car's capacity for avoidance is a must for every driver, and with the active safety equipment required on today's vehicles, it is a procedure that is within every driver's grasp. Sadly, most of those crashes happen with less than 35% of the car's potential for avoidance having been used. The emergency lane change drill combines the braking and steering skills of the other two drills, and adds the element of surprise. Entering a lane of cones at highway speed and approaching a cone barrier, the instructor signals with a light mounted on the dash which direction the driver is to swerve around the barrier while braking. The timing of the instructor's signal compels the driver to react in a manner that replicates the reaction time available in a true road emergency. Practice and repetition soon make this dramatic maneuver feel routine.
This final drill is both a warning and a pathway to a safer future if its message is taken to heart. The drill gives everyone the experience of having the driver in front of them slam on the brakes from a common city speed, in this case 40 MPH, when the following driver is following at a distance the group has agreed represents common following distance. There is clarity in the performance of the group.
Discussion topics are:
Hands and seating position
Brakes and ABS
SUV handling characteristics
The vehicle dynamics of the emergency lane change
I hope this is helpful and responsive to your request. If there is anything else I can provide, please don't hesitate to ask.